Celeste Trapp founded Hair M in October 2003. Yes, that is right. We are celebrating our 15 year anniversary this year! Celeste has remained actively involved in the business, although behind the scenes and not shining shoes and pouring beer like the early days! With any business, there is an evolution that needs to happen to stay competitive, relevant and sustainable. We have been blessed with many loyal clients who have witnessed the changes to our business and we realize that sometimes the answers to WHY the changes are not always known. We have never for one day in 15 years valued our clients or our teams more than we do today. We will continue evolving, improving and listening.
Why the new membership program?
We love seeing our members be rewarded for their loyalty. Since the beginning, we have had a membership program, and in those 15 years it has evolved from time to time, but it has always been a priority to have a membership program that gives our loyal clients rewards worth committing to for an entire year! What we found was that with our old membership program our members ran into two areas of frustration. 1) The old membership expired after one year so some members did not get to fit in all 12 haircuts to get their full savings and 2) it locked members into one type of hair service. If they wanted to scale down they in a sense lost out and if they wanted to scale up they had to pay extra. And now that we have returned to level pricing it created another issue that members would be signed up for a certain level and would have to scale up or down if they booked with a different stylist. So as you can see the program got complicated and we wanted to simplify it and make it easy for our members to save and take advantage of the program.
So now we have the King’s Club circa 2018 which has two options. Option 1 is $500 and offers a 15% savings and Option 2 is $1000 and offers a 20% savings. Discounts apply to ALL services and ALL products and members have two years to use their account balance. You can also pull gratuity from your account so your check-out can be quick. Much easier yes?!
I should also note that we still have the Walk-in Barber membership that offers 10 Walk-In Cuts with no expiration date for $250.
Why did you bring back stylist level pricing?
One of our primary objectives is to provide a rewarding career path for our team members. This helps us to not only attract great talent, but more importantly for your sake and ours, to retain them. This means providing an opportunity to improve their skills through advanced education and coaching and the opportunity to increase their income. We could just increase our prices for everyone in order to provide that career path but that isn't fair to our clients who are happy to see a lower tenured stylist at a lesser price. It also allows us to hire a broader skill level. Believe me, it's hard to find stylists who are skilled in men's hair at the level our clients expect. We have many stylists who have been with us over 7 years with full books of loyal clients. When they move up levels (and pricing) they may lose a few clients who choose to drop down to a lower lever stylist but this proves to be not only an advantage to the stylist who now gets a well-deserved raise, but also to their loyal clients who can potentially get on their books without waitlisting or scheduling months out, and yes this does happen with many of our stylists.
What's the difference between a walk-in barber cut and your other services?
When I opened Y-Chrome back in 2009 I had the intention for it to serve two purposes. I recognized that for many of our clients they did not have the time or money to have a monthly Hair M experience. It was more of a treat, which meant they were going elsewhere between visits. With Y-Chrome being more of a traditional barbershop model, these Hair M "irregulars" could stay in the family and still get great service but at a lesser price point and on a walk-in basis. I also envisioned Y-Chrome to be a training ground for Hair M. With the lesser price point we could hire newer talent, train them and then move them over to the Hair M team. This seemed like a great idea, but the reality was the team we hired at Y-Chrome stayed for over 5 years and they became their own wonderful family with a loyal following. So it all worked out but it didn't solve the need to have a way to hire newer talent that we could train to be skilled men's stylists that would warrant the prices at Hair M. So in 2013 we started offering walk-in appointments at a lesser price point with new staff members. We are continuing to grow this part of the business and the goal is to have two walk-in barbers at all times, at all locations. We currently have one on staff at each location, but as we continue to grow this side of the business we will be able to add additional staff.
No more bottled water?!
This was a tough one. We have always wanted to offer our clients the best service and that includes what they want to drink. Although beer has always been most popular, many of our clients chose bottled water. The reason we decided to switch to filtered lemon water is that we were sending a huge amount of plastic bottles to the landfill which started to weight on my conscience and our team members. Most of the time clients did not finish even half of their bottle and would leave it behind, which made it even more difficult to send that bottle off to the landfill. We did just added La Croix though which seems to be a big hit.
What do you do to keep your staff happy?
Many of you know that I did not come from the hair industry when I opened Hair M. My background was marketing and business and when I did my research I was dismayed at the instability in this industry. It was common practice for stylists to be bouncing around between salons, benefits were rarely offered and salons that were able to keep their doors open couldn't afford to market so many stylists had a hard time making ends meet which therefore continued the cycle of trying to find greener pastures. Just about every stylist I interviewed wanted to work for themselves one day (most salons in the area are booth rental) and they had the false perception sold to them from beauty school that they would be making six figures in no time. Sadly many of these issues are still part of this industry today. I knew quickly I wasn't going to run a business like the rest. We have offered our staff benefits, bonuses, education and a family environment from the very beginning. We also provided another important thing, a great clientele. As with other parts of our business, we have also evolved with our compensation packages, but I can still say we provide a great career opportunity to our team that I am proud of.
To keep our staff happy we offer competitive compensation and benefits, plus we invest in them with marketing and education. We offer them support and coaching to help them when and how they need it. We throw some great parties every year and treat them to free services for their anniversaries. They enjoy large discounts on products and services, and even for friends and family.
A year ago I started something completely new that I have never heard of any salon offering. I am teaching a Salon Ownership Class to about ten employees who are interested in one day owning a salon. We meet quarterly and focus on one segment starting or running a salon. It's my way to give back to some of our long-tenured staff. If they have the itch to own their own salon I would want them to have the knowledge to do it well and make sure they know what they need to know. It's been a big eye opener to most of them and even if they decide that owning a salon isn't for them, they now have a better understanding of all the nuances of running a business. Seeing our team grow and thrive is one of the biggest rewards of running this business. I really consider our team to be our number one customer, because if they aren't happy I know you won't be either!
This industry attracts creative people who have a desire to be independent. This is not always an easy mix for a structured business who has clients with high expectations and an owner who has even higher expectations! So over the years it has been sad to see that we were not a good fit for some of our team members and vice-versa. We realize it is hard for our clients to see people go and it is not something we take lightly. What has been hard for me is knowing that stylists who may be disgruntled have our clients ear, and they don't know our side of the issue and so unfair judgments can easily be made about how we run the business. This is hard. I strongly encourage you to reach out directly to me if you ever have a concern about how we treat our team or run our shops. It may give me the opportunity for me to shed some light on the entire picture, and will help make sure communication is open between our team and management.
What happened to the spa services?
Ahhhh the spa services. They were definitely one of our differentiators in the market when we opened. Part of the inspiration to open Hair M was to offer men a place designed for them to not only get their hair services but also spa services. We offered manicures, pedicures, facials, massage and waxing services. What we found was that women liked to buy packages with these services in them for their guy, but men themselves weren't regularly seeking the services which made it hard to staff for. We still have Lindsey offering the best massages around at our Beaverton location for over ten years, but have taken massage services off the menu at the other locations. We have also removed nail services from the menu. We are still offering facials and waxing services. Our new Lake Oswego location however only offers haircuts, color and shaves as the space was already an operating men's salon and there was no space to add a treatment room.
Please reach out with any feedback, good, bad or ugly! If there are products or services you wish we would carry please let me know. If we ever drop the ball or fail to give you the Hair M experience you have come to expect, please let me know. We will continue to work hard to deliver a consistently double wow experience our wonderful clients.
With gratitude, Celeste
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org